Review In The Woods, Royal Court by Hannah Goslin


 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)


What’s the worst thing that could happen on Press Night?

Except a huge accident that is.

A fire alarm.

Unfortunately our trip In The Woods became interrupted by an non-scheduled fire alarm followed by an evacuation. Although, the excitement of this did not deter us from the great performance.

In The Woods by Robert Alan Evans, is a production featuring little characters, but great impact all the same. An old woman in the woods rescues a boy, and we see her fight all her demons, her past and her future; a unusual and mysterious World where she is always haunted.

In The Woods is as abstract as it comes – The old woman, played by Lesley Sharp, known for a lot of British TV, Film and Theatre such as Doctor Who and The Full Monty to name but a few, creates this feeble and weak character, switching from deep southern to quintessentially British as she changes from her ‘played’ character, to her real character – which in itself is very clever and awe inspiring at her seamlessness . She creates a real epitome of showing mental health as she fights her demons, shown in the form of different, volatile characters, played by  Tom Mothersdale.

Mothersdale is comical but also extremely frightening but it can also be commended that he is able to change to a range of characters, maybe 5, only with the use of minimal prop and costume change. From his exit as one to his entrance as another, he defines his ‘new’ character in physicality, vocally and with the general atmosphere. I feel that he really did steal the show, while Sharp is also fantastic.

An interruption such as the fire evacuation shows the true talent of a performer – while they continued slightly, their pause during the announcement showed them to still be enveloped in the performance, almost ready to go again. Coming back, it was if no time had passed, as we still felt the uneasy chill and emotional turmoil in the air.

My only qualm with In The Woods was the break of scenes – I now feel like I see this a lot from the Royal Court – Black out followed by a drowning of soundscape. And while this is effective, I feel like now it is expected and a general ‘theme’ of productions at the RC.

Overall, In The Woods is well worth a watch, if not for the interesting writing but also for Sharp performing in person and the phenomenal performance by Mothersdale.

Hannah Goslin



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